Published for the Catholic Literature Association of the Anglo-Catholic Congress by the Society of SS. Peter & Paul, Limited, Westminster House, 8 Great Smith Street, London, S.W. I, 1927 transcribed by Melissa Hunsberger
Strictly speaking, there is no such thing. But there is a thing called Catholicism, which is a way of loving God. And there are people called Anglo-Catholics; that is, Catholics who are in communion with Anglican Church in different parts of the world. And as Anglo-Catholics are not in the least ashamed of saying that they believe their way of loving God to be the best possible way in all the circumstances, it is desirable to explain, at least in outline, the principles on which their belief rests.
In certain solemn moments of their lives, and often in connection with particular places and occasions, men think that they are conscious of a power outside themselves, whom they call God and worship accordingly. Such feelings often turn out to be simply the reflection of their own virtues and vices; that was much the case with the Canaanites, of whom we read in the Old Testament. Their gods were largely the reflection of the vices of their worshippers. In such instances what religion means in practices is that the worshippers are trying to bring influence to bear upon their deity, such as he is, in order to secure the fulfillment of their own cravings and interests.
But there was once a people called the Jews, who were regarded by their more civilized neighbours as unpleasant and insignificant, with whom the reverse was true: their God was in many important respects quite unlike them; and he exerted his influence on them, not they on him. So they came to the conclusion that he was the true God of the whole earth, and allowed themselves to be organized into a society which was partly political and partly religious, framed to express his will and carry out his commands.
Their religion began historically with Moses. Under the inspiration of God he did two great things. He saved some fugitive tribes of Hebrews from imminent disaster: hence arose the idea of salvation. And he gave them an organization of which the spirit and inspiration were strictly moral and religious: hence arose the idea of a national covenant with God.
A little more must be said about this second point. The people believed that God had adopted them to be in a special way his people, to carry out his purposes on earth. If that was to be done effectively, they were bound to consider what his purposes might be, and therefore what kind of person he was. So they came to learn that he had a certain character and certain particular desires, and that he expected his people to imitate him.
These two ideas of revealed salvation and the claim of revealed goodness are the foundation on which Catholicism is built.
All through their history, in success and in disaster, the people of the Hebrews clung to those two ideas, even when the bulk of the nation was annihilated and only an insignificant remnant (whom we call the Jews) survived.
More and more, as time went on, they grew dissatisfied with things as they were, and yearned and prayed that God would bring them salvation from sin, and difficulties, and existing worldly conditions in general, by setting up a kingdom of his own on earth, in which his will should be clearly set forth and his people be helped to obey it.
And more and more, as time went on, did they learn under the guidance of inspired prophets and teachers to understand something of the depths of the character and purposes of God. They came to realize his essential justice and love of right; they became aware of the persistence of his saving love; and, as they traced his guiding influence in the turns and events of the world's history, they saw that his over-ruling providence was always at hand, whatever wrongs men might do, repairing the damage and working to bring things to the fulfillment of those purposes for which he created the world.
In the end they became more of a Church than a nation, because their whole outlook and all their organization were dominated by the idea of God's revelation of his own character and will, and of his saving purposes for mankind. In all things they looked to God to reveal himself, whether in the teaching of men who were inspired with special insight into spiritual things or in the course and development of the history of events: and thus they believed that their laws of morality and their religious customs, which had been evolved through the ages under the guidance of spiritual leaders, were in a special way a divine revelation.
Far and away the greatest of all Jewish spiritual leaders was Jesus Christ. He revolutionized the Jews' notions of goodness and religion. He did not destroy them: far from doing that, he took them as the basis of all his work and teaching. As he found them they were the ideas of a tiny people, in a backwater of civilization, and their methods of practical application were suitable to such a people, with limited knowledge of God and limited needs and desires. As he left them they were so fully developed that his teaching about God and goodness came to be accepted as the only possible standard for the whole world, and his re-organization of religion was rapidly developed on his own principles and by his own immediate disciples into the Catholic Religion as it has been believed and practiced by the Catholic Church ever since.
But Jesus Christ was more than a prophet. Those who knew him best on earth were gradually forced by progressive stages to the conviction that he was God in human form. That was the conclusion to which their own personal experience led them.
It is desirable to state shortly what they meant by Christ's Godhead. They did not mean to suggest for a moment that he was not a genuine man. But their meaning did at least cover two points.
In the first place, no human intelligence can realize enough of God's own nature either to understand it or, if he could understand it, to describe it within the limitations of human language and ideas. God's own nature is so far beyond our comprehension that it seems like a foreign language to us. But Christ is a full and perfect translation of God into the simple language of humanity. In Christ we see God in terms of human nature, the full, final, and complete revelation of God to man.
Secondly, the Jews had long been taught that God sought after them and desired to win their hearts and to save them. He had often sent them prophets and wise men; he had often disciplined and corrected them. Now he had sent his Son, who was himself truly God from everlasting to everlasting, to complete once and for all the seeking and the saving of mankind. In Christ we see God undergoing a human experience for the sake of redeeming the human race.
Hence Christ is the final authority for Catholics. What he teaches they accept as true; what he commands they try to do.
Christ did not himself complete the organization of his Church in detail: he chose and trained certain apostles, and sent them out after his Ascension, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, to found churches and to organize converts. These apostles found that the Spirit of God, who had been manifest in the life of Christ, now worked mightily in them, and his impulse carried their gospel of Christianity throughout the civilized world.
Their gospel was distinguished by certain definite marks.
It was a gospel of revelation; they did not pretend to teach anything but what Christ had instituted and taught them, or what men inspired by God's Spirit could reasonably infer from the facts of God and of Christ.
It was a gospel of salvation, because God himself had come in Christ to redeem the world, and had entrusted to his followers the means of grace.
It was a gospel of goodness (which they preferred to call love), and, by the wonderful gift of God, converted men actually found themselves attaining to a standard of goodness and love never before reached, save possibly by a few exceptional individual, here and there.
It was a gospel of authority; because the Church was Christ's society (they called it his Body): Christians did not organize themselves into churches, but were "added to the Church" which already existed, and conformed to the doctrines and practices they found therein.
It was a social gospel, because the Church was an organized visible society, and in it all men were brothers.
It was a gospel of life, because Christ lived on in the Church by his Spirit.
It was a supernatural gospel, because the capacities of common people were raised to a height above their ordinary natural level, and the values of common things were changed to make them instruments of divine power.
So this gospel was preached and took root, and came to be known as the Catholic Faith. From generation to generation it was handed down, under the special care and supervision of the Catholic bishops.
Sometimes in the course of history new light came to be shed under the leading of the divine Spirit upon old problems. Sometimes new problems arose and were solved by the application of old principles. Sometimes the change of circumstances and conditions made it necessary to adapt ancient practices to fit modern needs. Sometimes mistakes were made or misunderstandings crept in, and then some aspects of the Faith had to be thought out again and reinforced with their right emphasis and proportion in view of the whole truth as it had been once for all revealed by or in Jesus Christ. Usually the Church acted and spoke on these occasions by Councils of Bishops. She believed that some of the Councils were aided and inspired in a special degree by the Holy Spirit, and the decisions of those Councils were accepted as true by the whole body of the Church. And, though in a live Church there must be growth and development, Catholics believe with good reason that the Faith they profess is essentially the same in principle and practice as the faith once delivered to the saints and first preached to the world by the Apostles.
There is only one Catholic Church, but it has many branches. It has spread abroad from one center to another, until it has come to possess local representatives all over the world.
If a body of Christians in any place claims to be part of the Catholic Church, two things are necessary for them to make good their claim. Their ancestry must be tested first. When a man lays claim to a peerage, he is required to prove that he is descended in the true line from the peer whose rights are in question. In the same way claimants to the Catholic heritage must prove their Catholic descent in succession from the Apostles. The Church of England has no difficulty in justifying this claim for itself. It was founded first by Celtic Catholics, and refounded after the Saxon invasions by Catholic missionaries from Rome. There is no doubt whatever that the church of Rome was founded by the Apostles, and as the English Church is an offshoot from the Church of Rome its apostolic ancestry is beyond all question.
The second test which claimants have to pass is whether they have maintained their heritage. If they have deserted the Catholic Church and cast away any essential principle of its apostolic life and organization, they can only get it back and recover their former position from those who already possess these things. Anglo-Catholics believe that the Church of England passes this test as fully as it does the other. It has been reformed at several different times, but the course of its life has never been broken short and it maintains now, as it has always maintained, the Bible, the Creeds, the Sacraments, and the Sacred Ministry, which it received from its founders in the remote past.
It is here that Anglo-Catholics differ from Roman Catholics. Anglo-Catholics do not believe that the Church of Rome is the whole Church (which would shut out the great Churches of the East as well as the churches of the Anglican Communion); and they are persuaded that people can be a good Catholics by accepting the Faith because it is true, as they can by accepting it because the Pope guarantees it. They do not wish to pass judgment on other Communions or on any Christian body, except in so far as they are called upon to do this in defence of their own position. They simply desire to preserve the principle that the Church of England is a genuine part of Christ's visible Catholic Church.
The Church of England to-day contains several different religious groups, who are all more or less united in maintaining the principles of the church in practice, but are not all equally convinced of their necessity. Anglo-Catholics believe that the Catholic principles of their Church must be maintained, and ought to be practised by all its members: some other groups think there is no harm in doing so, but that the matter is not altogether vital and essential. This is the cause of the divisions among members of the Church of England. But it should be clearly understood that Anglo-Catholics do not wish to force their beliefs on other people: they only claim the right to continue practising their own faith within the Anglican Communion, and to preach it to such as will hear.
Anglo-Catholics have sometimes been accused of being disloyal and lawless, because they have sometimes been compelled to fight against various other influences in order to secure their right to exist. Such accusations are absurd. No one is more loyal than they are to the principles of the English Church, or more anxious and eager to obey its laws. But if, as may occasionally happen in any body of people, some of those who are in authority for the time being try to alter those Catholic principles, or to enforce new regulations which are inconsistent with the Catholic Faith, or to make life in the English Church intolerable for Catholics, then it is only natural and right that Anglo-Catholics should stand firm in defence of their legitimate position.
God fulfils himself in many ways; the whole earth is the Lord's and all that is therein; nothing could be carried on, nothing could exist, without his will and consent. Much can, therefore, be learned about God from the study of nature; all science is, so far as it goes, a revelation of God to the minds of men.
But that is not exactly what we mean when we speak of religious revelation. By revelation in that sense we mean the unveiling to men's hearts and wills, as well as to their minds, of something about God's nature and purposes deeper and more extensive than could be deduced simply by ordinary human intelligence from the ordinary facts of life. We mean the things which were perceived of old in the first place by men of special spiritual gifts, whom god used as his prophets-that is, Announcers; and, above all, the fact of Jesus Christ, the truths taught by him, and the unfolding of the meaning of these things by the Holy Spirit to men of spiritual discernment. All men have enough spiritual discernment to enable them to reach a personal conviction about the truths of revelation, if they want to be convinced, when those truths are put before them. But only comparatively few men, like the apostles and prophets, have been chosen by God to have sufficient spiritual insight to see them for the first time.
Catholics, then, believe in "supernatural" religious revelation-that is, the revelation of divine truth above what ordinary men could recognize by the use of their ordinary natural faculties without the help of somebody to point it out to them.
Catholics also believe in authority in matters of religion-that is, they attach special weight to the opinion of those who, as they have reason to think, possess exceptionally good grounds for their teaching.
There are many different kinds of authority. There is the authority of a man's own judgment, which is very considerable and weighty, if his powers of insight are sound and enlightened, and his opportunities for forming a judgment are adequate. Many truths of religion, like the truth that God is love, are self-evident to spiritually minded men: and it is much to be desired that all men should have their spiritual powers so developed that such truths should be equally obvious to all.
Then there is the authority of experience. Catholics regard as matters of particular importance the opinions developed by a long succession of saints and masters of the spiritual life, which have accordingly met the test of time.
Then there is the authority of history. It is on this that we rely for our knowledge of Christ's life and teaching, and for our acquaintance with the practices of early Christians.
But, above all, there is the authority of revelation. The judgments of the prophets, confirmed by the experience of the Jewish Church, and historically recorded in the Old Testament, were enlarged and extended and re-asserted by Jesus Christ, who was God in Man. His authority is supreme. Whenever we can get reasonable evidence for his having laid down any religious truth or principle or practice, we have no need or wish to push our enquiries any further. He is the crown of revelation.
Nevertheless, we still need sound historical judgment, taking into consideration all the evidence available, to show as accurately as may be what he did lay down. And we still need to rely on the spiritual insight of spiritual men, apostles, father, and doctors of the Church, belonging to every age down to and including our own, to help us under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to the deeper understanding of the facts which history discloses. And we still need the leading of experience, especially as it is provided by Councils of Catholic bishops, for the removal of doubts and scruples, and the safeguarding of revealed truth.
The Bible is a library of books written by many different authors, divided in date by as many a thousand years. It contains an immense range of literature, such as history, philosophy, law, poetry, drama, biography, letters, sermons, allegories, and so forth. Its unique value for religion lies in the fact that from beginning to end the background of it all is God; the subjects with which it deals are all regarded from the religious standpoint by spiritual men who possessed something of the mind of God. That is why we call the Bible inspired.
The Old Testament contains the revelation of God to the Hebrew tribes and to the Jewish Church, and recalls the manner in which they reacted to the revelation. The New Testament gives us the four Gospels four distinct impressions of the life, work, teaching, and person of Jesus Christ: The Acts is a picture of the way in which Christianity first spread, leavening society as it did so; the Epistles are occasional letters that have providentially been preserved, which throw a flood of light on the doctrines and practices of the early Christian communities.
The Bible clearly possesses immense authority as the record of revelation and religious experience. But without a good deal of knowledge, historical and religious, it is often very easy to misunderstand it. Parts of it seem as clear as day, other parts are obscure even to professional theologians; and with all of it a knowledge of the general bearings and tendency of the whole inspired literature is extremely desirable.
So we find that "the Bible and the Bible only" is a good catch-word but bad sense, because when questions arise about the Bible's meaning everybody gives a different interpretation. In order to understand the Bible we need the guidance of history, the investigation of theologians, and the experience of saints to direct us; and in the New Testament, above all, we need a knowledge of the actual practices of the primitive Church to elucidate the meaning of the written words which in holy Scripture it has bequeathed to us.
By the time that most of the books of the Bible had been collected together and that its contents had been pretty well fixed-that is, about three hundred years after Christ-questions began to arise about God and salvation which threatened the very existence of Christianity. What made the situation all the more serious was that throughout these disputes both sides quoted the Bible in support of their own views. So it had to be decided which side was in the right.
After a great deal of discussion by different theologians, gatherings of bishops were held to testify on behalf of their respective churches which arguments agreed with the faith that they and their fathers had held and practiced, and which disagreed. In this way definite conclusions were reached about the right and the wrong ways in which to give expression to the Catholic Faith.
The bishops then took an interesting means of safeguarding the truth for the future, so as to leave no doubt what was the meaning of the Bible and the tradition of the churches. Before grown-up people had been baptized they had always been taught about the Catholic religion, and given a simple summary or outline of the truth about God and salvation which they recited at their baptism. This was called a creed, and different churches used different creeds for this purpose. The bishops now chose certain of these creeds, and added to them such phrases as they judged desirable to warn people off the paths of false doctrine, and then issued them to the Church as tests of the true faith. Later on the creeds came into use at other services beside baptism, as acts of faith and praise.
Catholics believe that the Christian Church is a single organized society founded by God and responsible to him and to no one else. The very existence of this society is a gift from God. He by his Spirit drew together the Jewish nation, of which a selected remnant was to form the nucleus of the Catholic Church: then, in due course of time, Jesus Christ came and the Church went forth into the world.
As God founded the Church, so he laid down its governing principles. Its membership consists of people whom God has chosen. Its object is the love and service of God. The method by which this object is promoted is to take men into a new and spiritual environment, and there sustain them by divine grace and train them in holiness. Its primary rule is to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. Its officers are the Apostles whom Christ chose, and those whom the Apostles appointed to succeed them.
Most things in the Church are done through men and human agency; the riches of natural man are all intended to be brought in, and to be made the treasure of the kingdom of God. But nothing in the constitution of the Church has its origin simply in human will or device; the author and source of all is God our Saviour.
It would be extraordinary if the divinely founded Church had no divinely appointed organization, because mankind is constructed by God to be organized. We are created in families and nations, though we remain individuals, with distinct minds and independent characters. So God calls us to be redeemed and new-born in a Church; but our personal religion and individuality are not found on that account to be lacking or suppressed.
The history of the ancient Hebrew people may teach us a lesson to the point. They split into two nations about a thousand years before Christ. In the smaller section religion came to be highly organized, and that section (the Jews) survived national exile and political destruction. In the larger section (the kingdom of Israel) such organization as existed was mainly political rather than religious: it also suffered the suppression of its national life, and a large proportion of its population was carried into exile; and it was promptly swallowed up among the other inhabitants of Mesopotamia, and never reappears in history. Salvation truly came through the Jews, whose religion was organized.
So the Catholic Church has its apostolic ministry of bishops, priests, and deacons, which was fully developed in the first seventy years of Christianity by or out of the apostolate. This ministry is not to be thought mechanical or unspiritual because it has an orderly method of consecration. The Holy Spirit of God is a Spirit of order, not of confusion: he works to bring order out of confusion, and the ordination of successive generations of ministers by those who had the grace of the ministry before them is a characteristic method of the Holy Spirit's working. No one would claim that this is the only conceivable method: all that Catholics say is that it is the way the Spirit loves.
And the men ordained to any holy function in the Catholic Church do not lay claim to any greater wisdom or power of themselves than other men may possess: they are frail earthen vessels like the rest. But they know that the Spirit of God is come upon them for the work they are ordained to do, and that his work is done by him through their means.
Grace is the influence of God exerted on the hearts and lives of men, and it is won by communion with God, which we call prayer. Like all personal influence it comes by spiritual contact. People pray, as they speak, sometimes by words and sometimes by signs and symbols; and God who made men what they are chose certain signs and symbols as particular means of grace. We call these sacraments.
The Jews also had religious signs and symbols, but they were not sacraments. They were rites of human invention, in their origin very similar to the religious rites of other primitive and uncivilized peoples. But in the Jews' case these rites became genuine and useful forms of prayer, because under divine guidance they were progressively purified and developed.
Jesus Christ accordingly instituted certain sacraments to be employed by his people as outward signs of devotion, and pledged his divine power and authority, not merely to accept them, but to impart certain graces and gifts by their means. The two outstanding examples are Baptism and Holy Communion. He also gave to his Apostles order and authority to carry out certain other spiritual work, such as healing the sick and forgiving sins, and they were led by the Holy Spirit to make provision of corresponding outward means for carrying this out. In the same way by the laying on of hands they handed on the gift and graces of the Holy Spirit when he came.
But the two most essential and import sacraments are those of baptism, by which the holy Spirit grafts men into the body of Christ's Church with a new and spiritual birth, the beginning of a second life which is eternal because it is shared with Christ; and of Holy Communion, in which men's souls (and, through their souls, their bodies also), are strengthened and refreshed with the divine sustenance and spiritual food of Christ's Body and Blood, which were created, sacrificed, and glorified for our salvation.
By divine worship Catholics mean the Mass. In the holy sacrament of the altar the Church of Christ prays to Almighty God to accomplish that which Christ instituted and ordained, and Christ himself, true God and true Man, is present by his Holy Spirit to consecrate again, in his own words, bread and wine to be his Body and Blood. The Catholic Church which is one in him offers him thus to God, presenting for all time the one, full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice of the Cross for the redemption of the world; and, as it offers him, it offers also itself and all its members in and with and through him, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice to God. The sacrifice of Christ avails for men because faithful men offer themselves as part of that great universal sacrifice.
Other forms of public worship there are, some formal and some informal. But the center and core and heart of all is the sacrifice of Christ. The monastic service of Mattins leads up to the Mass by way of preparation: the corresponding service of Evensong completes the daily worship by way of thanksgiving. But the Mass is the thing that matters most. It is our only bounden duty and service in the worship of Almighty God: it is the only kind of worship which is offered literally and completely "through Jesus Christ our Lord."
The word Mass is a simple as a piece of bread or a glass of wine, yet deep and tremendous as the Body and Blood of Christ. Nobody knows exactly why it came to be used for the sacrifice of the altar; but anybody can learn exactly what it means. It has so little meaning of its own in the language of men that perhaps it alone is fully capable of bearing the tremendous meaning which it has in the language of religion and Christ's Church.
The Catholic religion is not intended to be merely a Sunday religion, which can be discarded during the other six days of the week. It is meant to change and discipline the lives of those who follow it. No one has so much as begun to lay hold of its first principles until he is trying to live a good life and to do right by himself and by his fellow-men. And no one has succeeded in penetrating very far into it until he realized that its great aim is to make men like God.
Catholics, then, are called to be saints. Heaven itself simply means that state of life in which saints are truly at home: and saintship means the elimination of sin, which id disobedience to God, and the reproduction of God's life in men.
There are several practices beside prayer and devotional study of the Bible (which are too obvious to need further mention) which are traditional in the Catholic Church as means of assisting men to eliminate sin and become saints. All men are prone to sin. But sin can be overcome by repentance. Repentance means three things: first, being sorry for sin, because without being sorry for it we cannot hate it and cannot get rid of it; secondly, confessing it-that is, gelling God we are sorry for it, because God expects us to tell him everything, our sins just as much as our need of daily bread; thirdly, making up our minds to put it away from us-that is, amendment of life, without which our sorrow and our confession would be insincere.
If we fall into grave sin, and find ourselves unable to quiet our own consciences by reason of the barrier we have by sin set up between God and ourselves, Christ has ordained remedy by which we may be assured of forgiveness and grace. He has left power to his Church to absolve all sinners that truly repent and believe in him. We confess our sins to a priest who is the Holy Spirit's minister, and by Christ's authority committed unto him he absolves us from all our sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. And because Catholics find that confession to a priest is a powerful remedy against sin and a means of grace, they commonly confess to a priest at regular intervals, whether they have committed deadly sin or not.
Another means of grace and spiritual discipline sanctified by the examples and precept of Christ, and commended by the experience of the saints, is that of fasting. Catholics always come fasting to receive Holy Communion. They also have certain fixed times and seasons of spiritual discipline, at which, by strict regulation of their natural appetites, they make a special effort to bring under control all their natural impulses and direct them to the service of God. Such occasions are most Fridays, and the season of Lent.
The Catholic Church is a missionary Church. It can never rest until all mankind has been converted and brought under the sway of Christ and into the ark and home of his Church. Yet it is a society which is not only carried on for the benefit of its members, but is meant to influence and leaven the whole world. It is a great world-wide organization for social service and the improvement of the lot of mankind, and as such is ought to make itself a power that is felt.
Christ worked in the days of his flesh for the bodies as well as for the souls of men, and left his Church behind to carry on that work. If his Church has the mind of Christ, it is bound to try and carry out all his gracious and beneficent purposes for men so far as it finds opportunity. The Catholic Church then has to hold up before men's eyes the ideals of justice, peace, and mutual support, and to do what it can to secure that those ideals are made effective. At all times when the Church has been true to its mission it has been the champion of the weak and oppressed, and the opponent of cruelty, avarice, and contention.
The Church is not a political agency: the other powers that be are ordained of God to manage such affairs. But at all times the Church as an organized society claims the right to impress Christian principles on men and parties and nations, as the only source of true happiness, real welfare, and genuine progress: and, sometimes, when a clear-cut moral issue is presented, the whole weight of the Church's influence is properly thrown into the scale of practical righteousness.
A vast amount of social work owes its inspiration and initiation directly to the Catholic Church. To go no further, two instances alone are sufficient to prove this. The Church has always been foremost in the care of the sick and aged, and the relief of those in need. In countries where a Christian civilization has been built up, these obligations have been impressed upon the general conscience as a national duty: in other countries the Church is still the chief agency in their discharge. And the same is true of education. But for the efforts of the Church the modern world would mainly consist of unlettered and savage barbarians.
Men do not resign their membership in the Catholic society at death, still less are they expelled from it. The Catholic Church is one great body here or hereafter, below or above. Consequently, since all good gifts come from God and he wills that we should ask, as for our own needs, so also for those of the whole body of our brethren, we pray for God's grace and blessing on our departed, as common sense would indicate that they pray for us.
Little is revealed to us of their needs in detail. But certain things are clear. The earthly conditions of their warfare are ended, and they need rest, refreshment, and peace. Like all men they were sinners, and need cleansing. And they are closer to God's presence and need light and progress in holiness. For these things Catholics may and do make request on behalf of the faithful gone before them.
Some great and heroic souls become saints in this life: God's will is more completely fulfilled in them and his mind more fully know to them, and they have given themselves more wholly to his love than is the case with others. They have come nearer than ordinary men to the center of all life and truth.
They are still members of the one body, and their needs are therefore included in the prayers of the Church for all its members. But with them it seems more natural to lay the greater importance on the prayers they pray for the church than on the Church's prayers for them. They can pray best as being nearest to Christ's heart. Therefore we call upon them more particularly to pray to God for us.
They are our dear friends in Christ, though we have never seen them. We reverence them as the chosen vessels of God's grace, and love them as the elder brethren of the family of Christ. We glory in their triumphs; we try to imitate their virtues. Some day we hope to be united to them, not by faith only, but by sight. Heaven is the home we share with Mary the blessed Mother, the glorious Apostles and Evangelists, the strong Martyrs, the pure Virgins. When we reach home they will be there, knit together with us in the one Spirit to the glorified Lamb in the inexpressible radiance and joy of the Father's everlasting throne.